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African American women need to receive HPV vaccine

Providence, RI African-American women need to be the first to receive the newly approved human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine according to infectious disease experts. This is the view expressed in a commentary published in the July 2006 issue of The Lancet Infectious Disease by researchers at The Miriam Hospital and Brown Medical School.

The commentary is in response to an article in the January edition of the journal posing the question, "Who should be vaccinated against human papillomavirus?"- as well a review piece on HPV infection in men in the same issue.

The HPV vaccine protects women from acquiring two types of HPV, a sexually transmitted disease believed responsible for 70 percent of cervical cancer cases. Research shows that African American women are at twice the risk of dying from cervical cancer than Caucasian women.

"Although the reason for the disparity of HPV in African American women is not well understood simply knowing that this group is disproportionately affected should lead to targeted vaccination efforts that administer the safe, effective, three-dose prevention tool to them," says Loida E. Bonney, MD, MPH, a research fellow at The Miriam Hospital and lead author.

The authors suggest that developing a school-based vaccine delivery program would provide an effective strategy for reaching the broadest number of at-risk African American females.

"School-based vaccine delivery surpasses traditional primary care provider vaccination rates, but this avenue is not widely used," Bonney says.

At-risk adolescents, the group that would be targeted for the HPV vaccine, remain the most difficult to vaccinate because of various barriers to care including the need for parental consent to receive vaccines. Bonney and her colleagues feel that parental consent should be waived for the HPV vaccine as it is for other sexually transmitted infection-related health care, such as treatment for gonorrhea and chlamydia.
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Contact: Megan Martin
mmartin@lifespan.org
401-793-7484
Lifespan
16-Jun-2006


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